Paolo Villaggio was an Italian actor, voice actor, writer, director and comedian. He is noted for the characters he created with paradoxical and grotesque characteristics: Professor Kranz, the ultra-timid Giandomenico Fracchia, and the obsequious and meek accountant Ugo Fantozzi, perhaps the favourite character in Italian comedy. He wrote several books, usually of satirical character. He also acted in dramatic roles, and appeared in several movies.
The actor's career was echoed by that of a writer, which began with a book on Fantozzi and followed by various satirical works and eight other novels dedicated to the accountant; many of these have been published and translated in many countries around the world. On the lexical level, he devised an original and cutting type of writing made of neologisms, emphatic adjectives, morphological errors and bureaucratic terms that entered the common heritage of the Italian language.
In his over fifty years of career he has ventured into other expressive fields such as journalism, radio and theater, also writing two song lyrics for his friend and songwriter Fabrizio De André.
In the television field, he made important contributions both as presenter and as artist, launching experimental and avant-garde programs in the late sixties.
Among the most popular Italian cinema actors, alongside Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin, Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, received the Golden Lion Honorary for the career at the 49th Venice International Film Festival. In August 2000 he was awarded the Leopard of Honor at the Locarno Film Festival. He has acted in more dramatic parts by participating in films by directors such as Federico Fellini, Ermanno Olmi, Lina Wertmüller, Mario Monicelli, Pupi Avati, Gabriele Salvatores and Marco Ferreri.